Mark Drukenbrod's Rusty Beauty - 1964 TR4

December 10, 2017

Hey, Guys!

Do you wan't to hear another story of a Rusty Beauty and her owner? This one goes back 32 years ago and it is about Mark Drukenbrod and his 1964 TR4. It is very interesting so I recommend beer and popcorn :)

This is the email I received from Mark.

Cheers!

 

Hi Elin,

I just wanted to drop you a note to let you know how much I appreciate your YouTube channel. I’ve been a subscriber ever since I read about your channel in Moss Motoring (maybe 2 years ago?)  BTW, I’m glad to see you decided to weld the tailshaft housing on your TR6’s Type A overdrive – I don’t think you’ll have any problems. I only sleeved mine because there was so much damage that the bearing was sloppy in the housing.  It always cheers me up to see someone going through what I’ve gone through before.  I, too, am a little bit looney Triumphs.  To me, they are simple, durable, honest sports cars with loveable quirks but no real debilitating engineering or ownership problems.

Attached are some fairly recent photos of my first and longest-running restoration, a 1964 TR4, and as is often the case with first restorations, I will eventually have to restore it twice. 

 There have been 3 other Triumphs since, but life got in the way on this one.  I bought it as a clapped-out driver in 1985, and actually used it as a weekend car for about 4 months. It was unrestored and rusty, but not the worst I’ve seen.  It had tangled with a ditch or two, and although it was largely intact, I have the feeling that few of the body panels on it were original.  Sounds like a great candidate for a resto, right?

The reason I wanted to save it was that it (at some point early in its life,) had been owned by a person who was interested in performance, and it has a period British Leyland/Kastner competition build on it, with period parts.  The head was staked and skimmed, oversize valves were installed along with a mild race cam. It was ported and polished, twin (Italian) Webers and 4 into 1 headers were installed and the con rods, valve gear and flywheel were lightened.  On the dyno, it still makes 130 HP and 163 ft/lb of torque – very healthy compared to stock.  And like every Triumph I’ve ever owned, it WANTS to run, no matter what.

When I bought it, my job was designing and building a waste rubber gasifier to produce oil (crude oil was over USD 120.00 per bbl. then,) and I was working on the car in the corner of the garage at work after hours and on weekends. Part of this probably sounds familiar to you.  

One weekend, armed with 23 bottles of beer, I decided that I would tear panels off the car until I saw no more rust – I know…like I said, this was my first resto.  After about 12 hours, I threw my last beer at the TR in exasperation, and looked at what I had left: a chassis, bulkhead with rusty A pillars, left front inner fender, passenger floor, left and right rear inner fenders and trunk floor.  That’s it. 

At that time, all of the replacement panels specifically for TR4s (particularly the one-piece tonneau and shorter right and left rear deck sections that were changed for the fancier top that the TR4A got when it started production,) were still available from places like the Roadster Factory, and were quite reasonably priced.  Back then, a left rear deck section cost me USD 64.90, as opposed to USD 369.95 at today’s prices, and the one you can buy today really isn’t even the right part!  So I sourced what I needed and hired an expat Belarussian locomotive assembler to put it back together. But that’s a whole other story. Thus began the car’s first restoration.   

Anyway, in 1992 I started working in the paint and coatings industry, first as a marketing manager for a few equipment manufacturers, then designing manufacturing lines for PPG, BASF and Valspar (and companies like them,) specializing in automotive coatings production.  This required me to move from Pennsylvania to Los Angeles for three years, then to Chicago for 13 years, and then back to Pennsylvania.  When I moved to California, I handed the TR4 to a resto shop in PA that took a healthy deposit, billed me thousands, did little to the car and eventually went bankrupt.  An attorney was hired to make sure the car got released back to me, and it proceeded to sit and rust again for about 16 years, while life happened.  

When I returned to PA, I was way closer to the end of my product lifecycle, and decided to do a lot more of the work myself.  It went surprisingly well, and these pics show it wearing its shiny new coat of Glasurit Signal Red. 

 

 Please don’t judge, it hasn’t been color sanded and polished yet in these pictures.  And while the resto isn’t done yet, it it’s getting very close. 

 I have some other photos of it in process at various stages of decrepitation and I’ll send them along when I find them for inclusion in your site’s “friends’ cars gallery”, should you decide to do that.  I have to find them soon – they’re in the same file box with the car’s title.

In the meantime, as they sang in Toy Story, “you’ve got a friend in me.”  I really enjoy your content and look forward to each new video.  If you ever need help or advice on paint, coatings, thermal insulation or sound-deadening, I’m your guy.  And should you ever find yourself in Eastern Pennsylvania I’d love to offer a good meal, some beer and a little conversation about these noble little cars.

 

Best Regards,

Mark

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